Mini Herbed Pommes Anna

The lowly, humble potato—that often misshapen, boring brown lump—transforms itself into opulent, glistening, tastefully elegant jewels called Mini Herbed Pommes Anna. If you never heard of Pommes Anna, they are a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in melted butter and baked until they form a cake.

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An example of the original Pommes Anna as one large potato cake that gets sliced into wedges.

This buttery golden potato cake known as pommes Anna originated in 19th-century Paris when Adolphe Dugléré, chef of the Café Anglais, created it for his favorite customer – the celebrated courtesan Anna Deslions. Here, one of our favorite cookbook authors, Molly Stevens, minimizes the large cake into small individual muffin-sized stacks with a single-serve attitude.

It is essential that you slice the spuds uniformly very thin using a food processor fitted with the slicing blade or a mandoline. Given that the potatoes were small, I used my mini-mandoline instead of breaking out our industrial strength appliance. After tossing with melted butter and chopped fresh thyme, arrange slices in overlapping, concentric circles in the bottoms of the parchment-lined and buttered muffin rounds. It conveniently works out that 6 small potatoes fills 12 cups.

Definitely more time-intensive than baked or mashed potatoes, these gems are worth the effort. Time to impress your guests!

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12-24 small tender thyme sprigs plus 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 3/4 pounds small waxy potatoes (such as Yukon Gold or German Butterball), each slightly larger than a golf ball
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush muffin cups all over with butter. Line bottoms with parchment-paper rounds. Arrange 1-2 small thyme sprigs in center of each round. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon butter into bottom of each cup.
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  2. Add chopped thyme and garlic to remaining butter in saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Using mandoline, slice potatoes crosswise into very thin rounds (about 1/16-inch thick), placing them in a large bowl as you work. Pour herb butter over and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat well.
  4. Divide potato slices among muffin cups, layering overlapping slices to create a circular pattern. Lightly press center of each to make compact. Drizzle any remaining butter and seasoning from bowl over the tops.
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  5. Cover muffin pan tightly with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake until potatoes can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, about 35 minutes. Remove foil; invert a rimmed baking sheet over pan.
  6. Turn, lightly tapping on counter, releasing potatoes onto sheet. Rearrange any slices that may have fallen out. Using a metal spatula, carefully turn cakes, thyme sprigs facing down. Discard parchment.
    DO AHEAD Potatoes can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
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  7. Increase heat to 425°. Uncover cakes if needed. Bake until bottoms and edges are golden and crispy, 25-30 minutes. Carefully turn cakes, thyme sprigs facing up.

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These glistening jewels were served along with a roasted leg of lamb for Easter dinner, and company adored them.

Recipe by Molly Stevens

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